Wenda Johnson pulled out all the athletic moves in 13.60 seconds inside the Thomas & Mack to keep Steal Money, “Mo,” on course. And the best part? She doesn’t even know how good she was.
When asked how she pulled off riding two-handed around the entirety of the first turn, Johnson replied, “Did I ride two-handed around the first? Well, he probably needed a little support.”
Johnson was also blind to the notion that with that win comes her position at the top of the barrel racing aggregate after seven rounds, and sets her up in a position to be in world standings conversation.
“You know, I never pay attention to the clock,” Johnson said. “I don’t even hear the time. I asked somebody ‘What did we run?’ It didn’t necessarily feel fast.”
The Pawhuska, Oklahoma, native made some adjustments after Mo lost confidence in the footing in Round 3. Although Randy Spraggs and the rest of the ground crew have kept the ground much more solid, Mo is just a 6-year-old and hasn’t had as much experience on loose ground.
“A couple nights ago he kind of wanted to go a little close to the fence, so I wanted to make sure I gave plenty of room,” Johnson said. “Yesterday I lined him up and he got a little excited, but he listened today. I thought he was fantastic in the alley. He scooched in, lined up, left flat-footed.”
Johnson has been working hard to take care of herself and her horses in Las Vegas, noting that she has worked hard to keep her body physically prepared for runs and visiting the Justin Sports Medicine tent regularly. Her physical health certainly shone through in Round 7. Johnson was already thinking about treating herself to a good meal following the win.
“I do need a steak,” Johnson said. “We’re doing that tonight.”
Johnson credited the team behind her, including Luis Hernandez for conditioning and caring for Johnson’s geldings, and owners HighPoint Barrel Horses for their commitment to helping Johnson, MacGyver Moonflash, “Mac,” and Mo be successful.
World Standings Watch
Johnson has been rock solid at her third NFR appearance, pulling checks in three out of seven rounds and earning $85,082.35. Johnson is one of only four riders who have kept all barrels standing. Her 96.55 seconds on seven has .10 over No. 2 Shelley Morgan, who turned in another solid run in Round 7 and cashed a $4,663.50 check for sixth. That makes five checks over seven days and $45,908.95 in total earnings for Morgan and HR FamesKissNTell.
Jordon Briggs split fourth place with Round 6 co-champion Emily Beisel and is only helping herself out in the world standings race after a downed barrel in Round 6. Even with the knocked can, Briggs is still holding down No. 6 in the aggregate, a check that could be worth $18,187.71 if it held through the end of the NFR.
NFR Barrel Racing Round 7 Payoff